[Editor: On 9th April 2013 I heard from Richard as follows -Hi Grey FoxGreat blog! I've recently turned 40 and expecting my first child in April. I want to dress appropriately and stylishly - I do not want be that dad who wears hooded tops and trainers. At the same time I realise that from a 'functional' point of view certain clothes may be more suitable than my normal pre-baby staples. As a modern fella I'll certainly be doing my share of nappy-changing, bottle-feeding etc etc!! Wish me luck!I normally like to wear things along the lines of dark denim jeans with brogues, shirt and tailored jacket and use your blog, The Sartorialist, Permanent Style Mr.Porter etc. for references.All that said, as I'm going to be a slightly older father, I don't want people to mistake me for the baby's grandfather when we're out and about.So my question and idea for a blog post..... do you have any tips on what's best to wear for the style conscious father-to-be?Thanks and regards, Richard
Hi DavidCongratulations to Richard, Mum and baby William - enjoy the new experience!]
just a quick note to say that our baby - William - was born yesterday morning, 6lbs 2oz (although I'm not sure why, that's what people always want to know!). Mother and baby very well. Those Smedley jumpers of mine are in for a test over the next few years!!
Best regards, Richard.
Hi Richard,Thanks for your question. I write this reply as a man in search of style and also as a dad whose just seen children through to adulthood.Firstly, at 40 you’re not going to be mistaken for the child’s grandfather. Parents are starting families much later and you will join a veritable throng of dads aged from their early twenties to well into the forties. Nobody will notice - anyway, they won’t want to look at you, they’ll want to coo over the baby. Also, as a dad you will find that what other people think is the last thing you will worry about – there’s too much going on.I agree that you don’t want to be a hoodie-wearing dad; that begins to look a little sad at any age after about 25. I like the references and influences you’ve chosen for your personal style – they are all mine too.
The functionality of clothing is an interesting point. As you will discover, changing nappies and feeding times can be extremely mucky. I recall often hoisting a baby over my shoulder after a feed to wind it and then finding that a sweetly-scented stream of milk or solids was glooping down my back – not to be done in a business suit, even with a protective muslin cloth.
But you're not going to be popular if you excuse yourself from every mucky task because you’re wearing your new tie from Drake’s, coat from Burberry Prorsum, jumper from Richard James, waistcoat from Hackett or shoes from Loake. You will not have the chance to leap upstairs to change into your functional M&S wear before a chore – possetting happens without warning (you’ll soon find out what possetting is).
So, what’s the answer?
I suggest you continue to dress in your normal stylish manner, but ensure that everything is machine washable. I agree that this will exclude that camel-wool cardigan you’re desperate to wear and the mohair suit from Savile Row – but the sad truth is that having babies is more of a drain on your finances than buying bespoke garments, so you will no longer be able to afford such luxuries anyway. So, buy stylish stuff, but have a peek at the washing label thingy that sellers have to put in all clothes and, if you can interpret the symbols, get clothes you can throw in the washing machine after each little accident. Whatever you do, don’t feel you have to resort to cheap, boring, acrylics once you become a father.Good luck! By the way; you’re about to embark on the greatest voyage of your life and, really, having a child is so much more important than fashion anyway!Best wishes,Grey Fox
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